It’s literally getting lit. For the past six months, the lampposts on the west side of Central Park have remained illuminated through the night and day. There’s not a solid answer why, but it was probably somehow the raccoons’ fault.
As the New York Times reported, the lights, which were recently converted to LEDs, were turned on for maintenance. A different answer says they’ve been left on because they’re connected to the security cameras in the park, both of which have remained on 24/7 lately (especially after the explosion there this summer). It seems like the lights should be separated from the cameras, but the lights are the responsibility of the Transportation Department—and with all the gridlock in midtown lately, it seems like they haven’t made solving this secret of Central Park a high priority.
Wasting electricity isn’t all the lampposts do, though: You can also use them to navigate NYC. And just because the lights are on, you still aren’t allowed in Central Park between 1am and 6am.